CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 5, 2005 – Southeast Missouri State University higher education center advisors enjoy guiding students to reach their personal and educational goals. The advisors, from left, are Karen Tucker, KAHEC; Lisa Webb, CBEC; and Helen Steinmetz, SAHEC.
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,
Aug. 5, 2005 – As the students at Southeast Missouri State University’s higher education centers in Sikeston, Malden and Kennett, Mo., start classes this fall, they will be greeted with the friendly, helpful smiles of the close-knit staff at these centers.
These welcoming faces will include those of advisors Lisa Webb, Helen Steinmetz and Karen Tucker, who serve the vital role of advisors at the centers in Malden, Sikeston and Kennett respectively. As an integral part of these communities, Webb, Steinmetz and Tucker will be there to help students every step of the way, throughout their time at the center.
The three are experienced advisors who are knowledgeable in every program available to their students, according to Webb.
“We never let a student leave with unanswered questions or problems to be solved,” added Tucker.
Stefanie Cryts, a sophomore majoring in business administration at the Malden center, echoes this sentiment, saying she appreciates her advisor, Webb’s, expertise.
“She’s just great. She’s always giving me great advice, and she knows about everything. She can always answer my questions,” Cryts says.
Denise Hency, a sophomore who is in the pre-pharmacy program and majoring in general studies at SAHEC, added that the advisors are always available for students.
“Helen is always here so late that we practically have to run her out of the building to get her to go home,” Hency said. “She’s so wonderful. She cares so much about the students.”
The directors of the centers, Judy Buck, SAHEC; Marsha Blanchard, KAHEC; and Dr. Rick Hux, CBEC, agree, emphasizing that the academic advisors play a very important role in the success of the centers.
“The advisors work tirelessly with students on a daily basis identifying classes, working on financial aid issues, setting up tutoring, and many times just listening,” Buck said.
As advisors, they not only help students with advising, but also with admissions, financial aid, placement tests and obtaining scholarship information, Tucker agreed.
“I’m every department,” she says. “I work really closely with the students, throughout their time here. I do anything I can to help them get through college, even helping them with tutoring and personal problems. I provide them with a lot of guidance and try to help them set goals in life and choose the career that will best benefit them.”
Steinmetz agreed, saying she likes to tell people that visiting their advisor is like “one-stop shopping.”
She also says the advisors help students prepare for being in school and answer lots of questions, essentially showing them the ropes.
“Many of our students are older, non-traditional students who aren’t computer savvy,” she said, “and I help them learn the computer system.”
In addition, the advisors often take on the additional role of providing emotional support and encouragement for students, according to Steinmetz.
“Many of them, especially the older students, are very apprehensive about starting school,” she said. “I try my best to encourage them and let them know that they’re not alone and they can do it. They’ve often been out of school for so long that they’re frightened. I try to ease their fears and guide them along. It’s wonderful to see how proud they are of themselves when they find out they can do it.”
Tucker agrees, saying she likes that aspect of her job the most.
“It’s great to see how excited students get when they have their schedule in their hand and realize, ‘Wow, I’m going to school.’ It’s a thrill to see them in the halls, motivated and working hard. It makes my job so rewarding,” Tucker said.
Working with the students and seeing their success is the best part of the job, according to Webb.
“I love helping students figure out what they want to do,” she said. “I do intense advising with them and help them stay on track and focused on their goal. We’ve had a really good success rate. It’s fun to see students who have graduated and are now enjoying the careers they’ve chosen.
I get a lot of little thank-you notes,” Webb added.
“It’s thrilling to know these students I’ve assisted are out in the workplace with jobs,” Tucker agreed.
In addition to her time spent advising students, Tucker says she also enjoys finding various ways to show students how much they’re valued.
“The students are so appreciative of everything we do that I like to show our appreciation for them by doing a lot of fun activities,” she said.
“Sometimes they’ll find me grilling hot dogs in the parking lot, other times we have pizza parties, barbecues or cook-outs. We really have some good times here.”
Tucker’s not alone in expressing her appreciation for the students she helps. Steinmetz and Webb both say they really enjoy working with the students and helping them earn their education at Southeast’s higher education centers.
“We have such a sense of community, like we’re a family,” says Webb.
“It’s nice to have such a small school setting, yet still have a college atmosphere too,” Steinmetz said. “Students know we’re here to help them.” “For most people, going to college is a dream, and when they complete their degree, it’s a dream come true,” Tucker added. “I enjoy being able to provide students with the guidance to make their dreams come true. I really love my job, and I’m so fortunate to have such a wonderful job. I thank our community every day for the support that made our center possible.”
Webb graduated from Southeast in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She began her career in 1990 as an admissions counselor for Southeast, and has served as the academic advisor at CBEC since September 2000. She also holds a master’s degree in public administration from Southeast.
Originally from Sikeston, Webb, her husband, Ron, and their three children, now live in Dexter.
Steinmetz worked as an elementary special education teacher with the Sikeston Public Schools for 13 years. She then served as a school counselor in the Sikeston elementary, junior and senior high schools for 14 years. After retiring from the Sikeston school system, Steinmetz continued working with students as the SAHEC academic advisor. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary special education and a master’s degree in counseling from Southeast.
She and her husband, Ron, have been married for 37 years and have two sons. Steinmetz is originally from Louisville, Ky., but has lived in Sikeston for 37 years.
Tucker worked for 20 years in social services and as an activities director in the health care industry, working closely with patients and their families, before becoming the academic advisor at KAHEC. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Arkansas State University.
Tucker is a lifelong Kennett resident. She and her husband, Keith, have three children, Jarad, Devin and Alex.